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Porter says Keith Thurman v Jessie Vargas is a done deal for April

Jessie Vargas Keith Thurman Shawn Porter

By Tim Royner: Shawn Porter says Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) vs. Jessie Vargas (28-2, 10 KOs) is a done deal for April. The fighters share the same manager in Al Haymon, so that would explain why Porter knows the inside info on the Thurman-Vargas fight.

This will be Thurman’s tune-up fight, according to Porter. Thurman hasn’t fought since his 12 round split decision win over former WBC welterweight champion Danny Garcia on March 4th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Thurman won that fight, but his previously injured left elbow sustained more damage. Thurman, 28, then needed surgery to repair the injury. Thurman will be coming off a 13-month layoff by the time he faces Vargas at a still to be determined date in April. The 16th of April is the date that the Thurman-Vargas fight is rumored to be taking place.

The WBA and WBC have been lenient with Thurman in not stripping him of his 147 lb. titles due to him being inactive due to his elbow injury. If the injury problems with Thurman persist into the future with additional problems, don’t be surprised if one or both sanctioning bodies strip him of his belts. The WBA/WBC sanctioning bodies are in business to make money from sanctioning fights. They can’t make money with Thurman out with injuries left and right.

Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) wants his rematch with Thurman. Porter, 30, lost a 12 round a close 12 round unanimous decision to Thurman on June 25, 2016. The fight was close with Thurman winning by the scores 115-113, 115-113 and 115-113. Thurman was having injury problems even back then. Thurman was out of action for 11 months due to an injury he suffered in a car accident. Thurman came back from the whiplash injury to defeat Porter. After that, Thurman was out of the ring for 9 months before facing Danny Garcia in March 2017. Thurman hasn’t been fighting regularly since 2016, and Porter is likely wondering what he’s got left at this point in his career due to his inactivity, injuries and grueling fights.

“I was told to fight Andre Berto, and then Adrian Granados,” said Porter to Fighthype. “After that, Keith Thurman said, ‘let me fight someone else real quick.’ He’s got Jessie Vargas, who I don’t think is going to be a walk in the part for him. We’ll see what he’s been doing since he’s been off. We’ll see what he’s got left, and hopefully we’ll be taking care of business with Keith Thurman a little bit later this year. I’m pretty sure this is official for April,” said Porter.

You can’t expect Thurman to be better than he was before with him coming back from a 1-year layoff and elbow surgery. Vargas, 28, is a tough opponent to be using as a warm-up fight. Thurman might wind up regretting that he chose to take this fight. Vargas can punch to the body, and that seems to be one of Thurman’s weaknesses. Luis Collazo almost knocked Thurman down with a body shot in their fight July 2015. Thurman also doesn’t take head shots too well.

Thurman was hurt by Diego Chaves and Jesus Soto Karass with punches to the head. Thurman struggled to beat Leonard Bundu, Soto Karass, Chaves, Collazo, Danny Garcia and Porter. Thurman has been winning, but his wins aren’t effortless and without drama the way that Errol Spence’s wins have been. The injuries Thurman has been sustaining since 2014 are also a concern. Thurman was hurt before his fight with Bundu in 2014.

”My dad knows there are only 2 guys that I want,” said Porter. ”That’s Keith Thurman, and outside of that, Danny Garcia. We’re waiting to fight Keith Thurman. We’ve done everything we can to try and make the fight happen. So, this year you’ll see Shawn Porter inside the ring with Keith Thurman; If not Keith Thurman, then Danny Garcia,” said Porter.

Porter needs to keep in mind that Thurman could lose to Vargas. This isn’t a 2nd tier journeyman that we’re talking about in Vargas. This is a former 2-division world champion. Vargas has held world titles at 140 and 147. He vacated his WBA Light welterweight title in June 2015 so that he could face Timothy Bradley. Vargas lost that fight by a 12 round unanimous decision, but he had Bradley badly hurt in the final seconds of the 12th.

Vargas might have gotten a knockout if the referee Pat Russell hadn’t stopped the fight a little early after he mistook the 10 second clock for the end of the fight. Vargas came back from that loss to win the vacant WBO World welterweight title in his next fight in stopping Sadam Ali in the 9th round in March 2016. In Vargas’ first defense of his WBO title against Manny Pacquiao, he was beaten by a 12 round unanimous decision in November 2016. Vargas lost, but he still showed good power and he didn’t roll over. Vargas has the power to give Thurman trouble if he’s not at his best. Even if Thurman is at his best, Vargas still might beat him.

”I think Jessie Vargas is a little bit more than a tune-up,” Porter said. ”That’s what he wants to do. I’m not here to play. These guys are playing. Keith Thurman has been playing for over a year. He thinks he’s going to get in there and tune-up with Jessie Vargas. This is going to be a great fight for him. After that, hopefully no slipups, and then it’s me. I’m just doing the best I can to wait and be patient and do the best I can to stay in shape and be ready to go when I get the call,” said Porter.

Porter must be a little worried about Thurman with his title defense against Vargas. It impacts Porter’s career if Thurman loses to Vargas, because that would be an immediate rematch. Since then is a voluntary defense for Thurman, he’ll have a rematch clause in the contract for the Vargas fight. If Thurman loses, then he’ll be facing Vargas in a rematch later in 2018. Porter will have to sit and wait for the Thurman-Vargas rematch to play out before he gets his fight against the winner.


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